Lansing City Council hears complaints about Pearl Street “campground”

by B.J. Tomlinson

The Lansing City Council met in regular session Monday night, July 21. Councilmen Dave Darling and Pat Wagner were absent. Mayor Brennan read the second of three readings of Ordinance #191 regarding the increase in water/sewer rates. The third and final reading will take place at the next Council meeting, August 4. The new rates will go into effect August 11.  
Several Southtown residents addressed the Council regarding the “campground” at 721 Pearl Street owned by David Swenson. A lengthy discussion ensued. Shirley Fink wanted the Council to know the neighbors are all opposed to the campers parked on the lot because of the noise and appearance. Mayor Brennan said the Council is looking into ways of preventing further use of the parcel as a campground, and that they were waiting for advice from the City Attorney on how to proceed.
Mabel Terry asked the Council to waive a sewer bill in the amount of $133.21. In a memo to the Council, People Service representative Heath Draeger said there was excessive water usage due to a leak in the hot water heater that occurred when Terry was out of town.  As is the current policy, the Council agreed to waive 1/2 of the $133.21 sewer bill, $66.61.
Main Street Lansing spokesman Joe Papp invited the Council to attend a Tourism Workshop and dinner to be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 28 at Sweeney’s on the River. The meeting will feature Donna Harris from Heritage Consulting. The goal of the visit is to understand the current conditions affecting tourism in Lansing. The results of Harris’s assessment will be presented on Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 a.m. at Kerndt Brothers Community Center.  Papp also encouraged the Council members to participate in open dialog so that the Council and Main Street Lansing can work together to promote the town. “Tell us what you’re thinking,” Papp said. The visit is provided by Main Street Iowa; there is no charge to Main Street Lansing or the City.
Jerry Aperans, Street Superintendent, presented information regarding DNR burn pile requirements.
The City was visited by a DNR representative who inspected the burn site. He found microwaves, tires and various other items in violation of standards in the burn pile and gave the City a warning this time. However, if it occurs again the City will face serious fines. Aperans presented several options for correcting the problem, including fencing the area, controlling access, ceasing burning, relocating the burn operations, chipping limbs to provide wood chips and firewood for residents. He said the current site is within 1/4 mile of two residences, and will require waivers before burning operations can continue.
Parks Board representative Dave Pleasants asked permission from the Council to extend the swimming season at the pool through August, the hottest part of the year. The regular summer session ends August 8. The proposed sessions would begin August 18; the pool would be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Cost to swimmers without season tickets will be $3.00 per session. The Council approved the request. The Parks Board also requested permission to replace the pool’s sweeper/vacuum, which was approved by the Council for up to $3,000. The Council also approved an $8,000 Minnesota Twins grant application which will be submitted by the Parks Board.
The Council also appointed Kelly Mudderman to the Parks Board to replace Deb Volker, who recently resigned her position on that board.

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